Meriden’s first Hispanic police chief focuses on community

“I want to be involved as much as I can,” Meriden Police Chief Roberto Rosado said. “The only way to be successful is if you’re involved. You have to be present, available. You got to listen to the community and be a part of the community to be able to help shape that department and police the way everyone wants us to police”, he told the Record-Journal.

Rosado was sworn in this week after serving 22 years in the Willimantic Police Department, including the last four as chief.

CTLN spoke with Rosado back in 2016 when he stepped into his new role. He shared that as Willimantic’s new police chief he saw community policing as a priority and his biggest challenge.

Rosado said then of the Willimantic Police Department, it’s already “ahead of the game,” through initiatives such as its citizens academy. There also is a history of local involvement such as participation in the Special Olympics Torch Run and the chief’s recent presentation of school supplies at an annual backpack drive.

Meriden Police Chief Roberto Rosado at swearing-in ceremony with his family, July1, 2020

One of Rosado’s top goals in Meriden will be building trust and relationships within the community. “I believe if you treat the community fair, you listen to them, and then you police in a way that is fair and impartial, they start believing in you and you build that trust within the community,” he told the Record-Journal.

The emphasis on community also suits the new chief’s background. Growing up in Meriden, his career path was significantly influenced in part by Hector Cardona Sr., an officer who was highly visible and respected in his neighborhood and by uncles whose military and firefighting careers embued Rosado with a desire “to try to do right,” he said.

The new Chief has a passion for increasing diversity and improving relations with all community members. Rosado said that having a good grasp of Spanish, or any foreign language, can make a difference in how residents relate to the police.

Rosado, 45, was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Meriden at a young age. After graduating from Wilcox Technical High School, he joined the Army National Guard in 1994. He served six years in the National Guard and was hired as a patrol officer in Willimantic in 1998. 

Rosado was promoted to the rank of Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Lieutenant, and most recently as Police Chief. According to Patch, Rosado has had experience working with various Criminal Justice partners such as Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). Rosado was responsible for overseeing large level narcotics investigations, and a large number of high profile cases not limited to homicide investigations, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults, robberies, and child cases.

Rosado earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and was a graduate of the FBI National Academy in 2015. This August, he will earn his master’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in management from the University of New Haven, according to the city’s announcement.


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